SGA voting worth student participation

By Bethany Gallimore
On February 20, 2014

As the elections for Student Government Association begin, students are encouraged by their peers as well as faculty to take voting very seriously.

According to the SGA page on the A-State website, SGA is the designated representative voice for students. SGA strives to promote a greater understanding and cooperation with the faculty and administration. SGA also works to ensure students realize their rights to influence academic policies on the university’s campus.

Hans Hacker, associate professor of political science, said SGA is important because they decide what the best uses are for student funds.

“This is not high school anymore. SGA has a huge budget. They can do incredible things on campus to create an academic environment,” Hacker said.

SGA Vice President Sarah Hamilton, who also serves as election commissioner, refers to the preamble of the SGA Constitution in which the purpose of SGA is to strive toward higher academic standards, promote democratic principles and foster close cooperation between students and faculty. Additional purposes include encouraging worthy projects in the interest of the student body and serving the general welfare of our institution.

“We each care about our student body on a personal level and want to make a positive impact on our campus,” Hamilton said.

The final applications for student government positions will be accepted until Monday. At noon on Wednesday in the Reng Student Union Auditorium, students will be able to attend the candidate debate, which Hacker considers quite important for the electoral process.

“Students should attend the debates and think about what those individuals have to say,” Hacker said. “It’s not just enough to cast your vote. You have to understand what that vote means.”

Hamilton said students will be voting for senators to represent their class or college, as well as a president and vice president team to represent the entire student body.

“Students should absolutely exercise their right to vote. It is vital that students from all parts of campus and all walks of life to be represented in this election,” Hamilton said. “It is a way for students to feel personally involved in who represents and leads them.”

Hamilton said there are some qualifications students should consider for the SGA president.

“The SGA president should be a person that promotes student involvement, student diversity and academic success,” Hamilton said. “They should hold themselves and our university to a higher standard and should strive to represent the student body through their words and actions.”

SGA elections happen annually but the opportunity to have this political experience is beneficial practice for the future.

“We live in a system where people have to participate. We need an educated electorate to keep things running,” Hacker said. “This is an opportunity to try on being a democratic citizen in a relatively safe environment.”

After the debate on Wednesday, Candidates will begin campaigning on Thursday. Voting will be open March 5-6, Hamilton said.

Students will be able to vote through a link online, which will be posted on the SGA Facebook page and Twitter (@ASUSGA). Election results will be announced at 5:30 p.m. on March 6 on the first floor of the Student Union.

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